Already on day one of testing, the new rules have managed to set that straight, with the fastest time on Monday 3.174 seconds faster than what was achieved on first day of testing a year ago.
Following his brief stint behind the wheel during a Mercedes filming day last week, Bottas took over testing duties for the opening morning of 2017's pre-season.
Valtteri Bottas got behind the wheel of a Mercedes for the first time since replacing 2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg and he was delighted with the handling of the vehicle. Not the three to four seconds a lap that has been predicted but, given that this is the first day out of the box for the brand new cars, those sort of times are still expected. It has more downforce and you can feel it is heavier.
"We are doing quite a bit of mechanical tests and just checking systems really - do long runs, trying to get information".
One of F1's most successful teams with eight constructor titles and 12 driver titles, the British outfit has struggled since it switched from Mercedes to the Japanese automaker before the 2015 season.
"Today's session was OK, I felt I got up to speed relatively quickly", Ricciardo told the team website. "We did lots of laps and collected loads of information, so we can try to improve the vehicle as we move forward". "I very much enjoyed it".
"The news was not so encouraging for Red Bull and McLaren whose time on the track was limited by recurring reliability problems in Barcelona".
Not everyone had as good of luck as the Williams, Ferrari and Mercedes teams, however, as McLaren and Red Bull both found themselves battling gremlins with their cars during the day.
As such, no team begins by trying to set the fastest possible lap times.
Hamilton, despite having just four hours of running, managed to complete 73 laps.
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said Alonso was "not very happy" about the problems.
Lewis Hamilton will be out for Mercedes in the afternoon session.
Daniel Ricciardo logged 50 laps. The Finn was second quickest at the break after completing 79 laps, and said he noticed a clear difference compared to the 2016 cars.
Massa was 0.311s off of Hamilton's time, and over 0.8s clear of Kevin Magnussen in the Haas.
Vettel stuck to the "medium" compound of tyre for most of the day before a brief run on the "hard", so on the face of it his lap time looks impressive.